Tuesday, 4 October 2011

In all my years treating warped and disturbed bridge players, nothing has amazed me more than the mental disorder known as pontificus regalia. This rather unusual but specific affliction involves players falling victim to a delusion of majestic grandeur.
They see bridge venues as their palaces, and themselves as noble kings who can command audiences and hold court , just at their beck and call. Amazingly players of all ability levels gravitate towards them like moths to a bright light. As pontificus regalia takes hold victims begin to spout sermons on the finer arts of the game, offering both advice and instruction to those eager to learn. Often they will regale listeners with incredible stories of their achievements and conquests. Anyone who dares to challenge them will hear outraged cries of " treason ....off with his head " or " see to this man....he's off his head ".
This condition strangely enables victims to beguile the people around them to such an extent that they start behaving like sycophantic courtiers , desperate to obtain favour, patronage and approval. Onlookers have remarked that the delusion overtakes all those in attendance, depicting a scene from the king in the land of the blind. Like an emperor wearing no clothes, no one seems able or prepared to tell him what an embarrassment he is.
Indeed, the first client I came across with this regal delusion was Rex Kingsley, who began taking his soap-box, clad in expensive purple velvet, to his local club at Hyde Park simply to rant and rave about the unethical practices of his those he had come to dislike. After he was arrested and charged with causing a public nuisance, he successfully claimed immunity from any crown court proceedings by virtue of a royal prerogative. The consequence of this however was an indefinite stay at one her majesty's institutions for the criminally insane.

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